Unfortunately, police officers are often injured when interacting with members of the public. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund on average, police officers across the country suffer 15,404 injuries per year. Police officers and deputy sheriffs are often aware that they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits but in certain circumstances he or she may also be able to recover against the suspect as well.
First, if you were injured in the course and scope of your employment you would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits include: certain limited wage loss benefits, medical benefits, and rehabilitation benefits. The city or county provide these benefits through their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Many cities and counties are self-insured to some extent and will commonly use a third-party administrator to handle the claim. Workers’ compensation is governed by administrative law and in the state of Minnesota is organized under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act.
Next, if you were injured by a suspect, you were almost certainly conducting inherently dangerous duties specific to police officers or deputy sheriffs, which may entitle you to PERA Duty Disability benefits if you are unable to return to work as a police officer for a period of at least one year. PERA Duty Disability benefits are a non-taxable benefit up till age 55, at which time it converts into a regular retirement benefit. If you meet the requirements of PERA Duty Disability benefits then you may also be eligible for the continuation of health care under Minnesota Statute § 299A.465. The continuation of health care provides for health care coverage for you and your family until age 65 as if you were still employed by the city or county.
Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, which means that you cannot bring a civil suit against your employer if you were injured in the course and scope of your employment. Even if your employer’s negligence caused your injury, you still cannot sue your employer or an agent of your employer. But, if a third-party, meaning someone other than your employer, is at fault then you can bring a civil suit against the third-party.
So, if you are a police officer or a deputy sheriff injured while attempting to arrest a fleeing suspect and the suspect caused your injury then you may recover against him or her. However, the person could be “judgment proof” meaning there’s no money from which to recover even if you were to win your suit in court. While intentional acts or torts are included by insurance policies, if the person’s negligent acts injured the police officer or deputy sheriff, you may be able to recover against the homeowner’s insurance policy, if available. Damages in cases where the police officer is no longer able to return to work in the same capacity can be very high.
At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we have successfully represented police officers and deputy sheriffs against negligent third-parties in civil personal injury cases who have attempted to flee or resist arrest and even more commonly in cases where the officer was injured in a car accident while on duty, in these same cases we have also successfully procured PERA Duty Disability benefits, Health Care Continuation benefits under Minnesota Statute § 299A.465, and workers’ compensation benefits. In these types of specialized cases it’s important to choose a firm that regularly handles these complicated cases and are experienced in coordinating all the benefits available to you. Contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. today for a free no-obligation case evaluation by calling 1-877-746-5680.